Editor's note

Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, you have probably learned to like, or at least tolerate, your personality. Chances are you don’t expect it to change much either. But what actually causes someone to become either outgoing or reserved in the first place? Clearly, this is a complicated mix of genes and early life experiences. But research keeps throwing up interesting results that enable scientists to come up with new theories.

For example, recent research has found a link between personality and the ability to recognise faces. Extroverts, it turns out, are better at identifying faces than introverts. Exactly why that is the case is unclear. But it raises the possibility that our ability to recognise faces could influence whether we become more or less extrovert. And people who are bad at remembering what others look like may become more withdrawn over time to avoid embarrassing social situations.

To learn more about how these things fit together and whether facial recognition is linked to other personality traits, researchers are now also looking at whether levels of anxiety, empathy or optimism are associated with how good we are at recognising faces. Though research probably won’t help improve your ability to spot someone in a crowd, it is increasingly likely that facial recognition technology will one day help match faces to names.

And don’t worry about the internet running out of space – it won’t happen. You do need to worry about honey bee numbers though, which are declining rapidly. One way to deal with the problem could be to design new bee hives.

Miriam Frankel

Science Editor

Top stories

s. pathdoc/Shutterstock

Introvert? You may just be bad at recognising faces

Karen Lander, University of Manchester

Your ability to recognise faces may have some connection to your extroversion, empathy levels and anxiety.

Stock image/Shutterstock

Here’s why the internet will always have enough space for all our devices

Andrew Smith, The Open University

How can the internet accommodate more and more users every day?

Aleksandr Gavrilychev/Shutterstock

To save honey bees we need to design them new hives

Derek Mitchell, University of Leeds

Beehive designs haven't changed since the 1940s.

Politics + Society

Health + Medicine

  • Does extra testosterone reduce your empathy?

    Simon Baron-Cohen, University of Cambridge; Alexandros Tsompanidis, University of Cambridge; Richard Bethlehem, University of Cambridge; Tanya Procyshyn, University of Cambridge

    The link between testosterone and empathy is complicated. We don't have all the answers yet.

Science + Technology

Business + Economy


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